Dealing Directly with farmers – Defunct APMC act…
Indian democracy has been a loyal executioner of British imperialistic framework and bylaws – which was meant only to siphon money to the coffers of East India Company. Successive Prime ministers and their knowledgeable cabinets have failed as Indians and and as patriots to create laws for the good of the Indian people. For lack of foresight, or political lethargy, or for very insular personal agendas, none of the elected representative of this country have had the gumption and the will to work for the truly neglected.
The last few months have seen the Indian parliament kneel down in front of the rising vegetable prices (while having the complete knowledge about the route and reservoir of the excess vegetables) – At the moment, it is only a delusional idea to think about a common market for agricultural produce – where the growers cans sell directly to the consumers without the long list of wholesellers and arthiyas (middlemen).
Image Credit: sonalidalal.blogspot.com
Why should Indian consumers keep on on feeding the network of state managed network of middlemen?
Well, the answer is not very different that the business model of the east India Company. The only difference is that the masters have changed – We, the Indians are fleeced every living minute of our lives to feed the ancestors and progeny of our elected representatives.
If anyone in the government disagrees with the above, then why no get rid of the colonial system of middlemen in the farming and other sectors?
Why are most of the state governments unwilling to embrace the ‘Agricultural Produce Market Committee’ (APMC) model act? - Because that would established and assured cash cow for the state governments.
Only the masters have changed…
In 2003 APMC act was framed to permit private and corporate bodies to to establish marketing networks and to eliminate the entrenched network of middlemen. The indispensability of APMC model act was grounded in the fact that market committees had become an earning apparatus in the hands of the state governments – instead of working in the interest of the farmers. Majority of the market committees registered a 150% to 800% jump in their incomes.
While the Farmers and consumers are in dire straits, State governments prefer to sleep over the APMC model ACT – lest the cash cow refuses to deliver the easy dough. Most of these rural cash finds its way to the higher echelons of legislative assemblies and secretariats. A current status report regarding the agricultural reform states that – Out of the 35 states and Union territories, only 16 have a provision for private market yards.
Why it won’t work
- A very steep license fees (Rs. 50,000) in certain states and a limited number of commodities is a big deterrent towards having a holistic marketing system
- Majority of the 18 states (out of 35 states & UT) have not exempted commodities – The outcome is that the farmer / grower ends up paying the same fees as they would have paid under the existing framework
- Not all the commodities are included in the contract farming list
- The biggest deterrent is the reluctance of the state governments to let go of the wholesale hold on the farming market – It is impossible for any agency or person to undertake wholesale marketing without obtaining a license
- The entry of private players into the rural farming sector is impeded by the partial reform to the APMC Act. This works against the basic concept of ‘healthy market competition’ – which is always an advantage for the common man
It is time that the growers and consumers work together to save our hard earned money from government malpractices and unscrupulous middlemen.